Vehicular homicide trial involving death of 25-year-old Steamboat resident begins in Douglas County |

Vehicular homicide trial involving death of 25-year-old Steamboat resident begins in Douglas County

Nearly a year after the death of 25-year-old Steamboat Springs resident Lacey Lewis, the jury trial for Jessica Stahl, who’s accused of vehicular homicide, started Monday in Douglas County Court.

The fatal collision happened on June 16, 2022, in Parker when Stahl’s vehicle hit Lewis, who was a pedestrian.

During the jury selection process on Monday, Judge Patricia Herron explained to potential jurors that Stahl faces a charge of unlawfully operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, one or more drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. 

In addition to facing a felony vehicular homicide charge, Stahl also faces a second felony charge of fleeing the scene of an accident that involved a death and a misdemeanor charge of fleeing the scene of an accident. Stahl is also accused of child abuse because her 8-year-old daughter was in the car at the time of the wreck. 

On Monday, prosecutors reviewed important details before jury selection with the judge and Stahl’s defense attorney to determine what evidence could be admissible in the trial. Prosecutors emphasized the importance of the jury conceptualizing that Stahl was unable to get a blood test the night of the wreck and was given a urine test instead. 

According to the prosecutors, the jury needs to understand that a blood test is more accurate in indicating recent substance use, while a urine test indicates a history of drug use and is not as strong of an indicator of recent use.

However, the prosecution explained that it is pertinent to this case because the jury also needs to understand why law enforcement went with a urine test over blood, as law enforcement had reported that Stahl’s “veins were in such a condition that a drug test could not be performed.”

The urine test did show a history of drug use, and the prosecution has alleged that Stahl offered varying statements that night about the frequency of her drug use and that her statements did not corroborate with the assessment done by law enforcement or statements that were given by Stahl’s family.

According to what prosecutors told Judge Herron on Monday, Stahl’s family was called on scene after the crash and expressed concerns to law enforcement that Stahl was not being taken to the hospital before being booked into jail.

Prosecutors said the family detailed Stahl’s drug addiction and said she would be experiencing withdrawals if she were not taken to the hospital to be treated with Suboxone, a prescription medicine used to treat opioid addiction in adults.

Stahl’s trial is expected to continue in Douglas County Court on Tuesday.

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